Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Toaster Oven & Giveaway

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Are you a pop-up toaster person or a toaster oven type of person? It’s actually often cause for debate in my house.  I grew up with toaster ovens. They were a constant fixture in my house at breakfast time. From toasting bagels to reheating pizza, it had its’ place. When I got engaged, my grandmother bought me a simple pop-up toaster. I was pretty skeptical about it. My husband on the other hand, was firmly in the pop-up toaster camp.  So we’ve lived with both kinds of toasters over the years.

So the fine folks at Hamilton Beach recently sent me this Easy Reach 4-Slice Toaster Oven to try out. I was definitely excited to check it out.

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This unit has the traditional toaster oven features. You can time-cook it based on how well done you like your toast, you can set it on a timer set to temperature, or you can simply bake with it – set to a particular temperature. What’s different about this toaster is that it has a unique roll-top door to make it easier for you to take your food in and out of the oven without getting burned. The oven door really did open smoothly and it definitely allows better access to the food inside. It’s like a toaster garage!

When it came time to cook with it, I first surveyed my daughter as to what to cook and she suggested bagels. Well, I had to test it with something more than just bagels. The bagels did toast well – just how I like it, but I was curious as to how the baking feature worked.

I decided to bake some cookies in the oven. Sometimes I like to mix up some cookie dough ahead of time and then freeze it so I can bake as needed. I mean, who doesn’t love fresh baked cookies? Anyhow, I whipped up a batch of my favorite oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies. Don’t tell anyone my secret, but I have a special place in my heart for the oatmeal cookie recipe on the lid of the Quaker Oats can. Anyhow, I do a doctored up version of that recipe and it never fails.

I set the toaster oven to 350. It seemed to heat up very fast, which is great.

I scooped up the cookie dough on to a parchment paper lined baking sheet (which is included) and let it go.

cookie-balls

The cookies cooked up nicely. I like to take them out a little earlier, since I like a chewier cookie.

Cookies-Baking

Overall, I really like the way the toaster baked the cookies and toasted my daughter’s bagel. The only con I think of with this toaster is that I wish it had more space. Toaster ovens always seem to show what seems like big food items in their marketing photos. In this case, the box showed a pizza. Well, that must have been a personal sized pizza. But that’s ok. It’s a toaster oven. This is perfect for toasting your breakfast, heating up that leftover pizza and even the occasional small baking job.

baked-cookies

Definitely worth checking out.

For a chance to get in on the toaster action, enter the giveaway below!

*Full disclosure: Hamilton Beach provided me with this toaster. All opinions are my own.

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Kosher By Design Brings it Home + Giveaway

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Whenever someone asks for a kosher cookbook recommendation, I typically have a couple cookbook authors on my mind. And Susie Fishbein is always one of them. Her Kosher by Design cookbook series feature a variety of flavorful recipes that any home cook can follow.

Anyhow, we’re having a virtual cookbook party today! I’m excited to share with you news about Susie Fishbein’s latest cookbook, Kosher by Design Brings it Home. Her new cookbook features new and innovative recipes inspired by all of her travels around the globe. It’s being released this Thursday, but you can pre-order it now here! I’m so excited to get my hands on this book. I cooked up her Freekeh Pilaf this week and it was a real winner.

To celebrate the release of her new cookbook, the kosher blogging community has an exciting giveaway for you! You can win a full set of Kosher By Design cookbooks, a Bosch mixer or $500 Visa gift card! Enter now! In addition to the book party giveaway package, I’m also giving away one copy of the Kosher by Design Brings it Home to one lucky winner. So be sure to enter below.

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The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen Cookbook Review & Giveaway

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Happy Chanukah! Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season! I’m taking a break from Latkefest 2015 to tell you about this fabulous new cookbook – The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen by Amelia Saltsman. I’m also hosting a giveaway for this cookbook, so don’t forget to enter.

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The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen by Amelia Saltsman is a fabulous cookbook that explores traditional Jewish foods while sticking to the Jewish calendar. Filled with beautiful photos and wonderful stories, this book really spoke to me. As someone who tries to cook seasonally, I felt like this cookbook was made for someone like me. I also loved that even as a Jewish cookbook, it wasn’t just about the potato kugel and the brisket. Amelia writes about the history of various foods and where they came from, while sharing about why they’re important to the Jewish calendar. I love that all of the foods in her cookbook are fresh and inspirational – using very clean ingredients. I recently made her Lamb, Butternut Squash & Quince Tagine and it was a huge hit with my family and guests. I also made her Winter Greens Saute and I know it will be a staple on our table over the next several weeks. I highly recommend this cookbook for anyone who loves exploring new flavors, while sticking to the traditional Jewish calendar. Even putting aside the Jewish calendar, this book stands out as a fabulous cookbook with fresh recipes. This Shabbat, I plan on serving Amelia’s Braised Beef with Semolina Dumplings. It’s the perfect Shabbat Chanukah meal.

Because I rarely share desserts with you, I decided to share this fabulous winter cake recipe with you. Blood Orange & Olive Oil Polenta Upside Down Cake evokes flavors of the Middle East and would be a special treat for your holiday table.

Blood Orange & Olive Oil Polenta Upside Down Cake
 
Syrup-soaked cakes, usually made with semolina and called tishpishti or namoura, are popular throughout the Middle East. With its stained-glass effect from the variegated colors of blood oranges, this upside-down cake, which gets its nubbly texture from sunny cornmeal, is drenched in a sophisticated ruby-red blood-orange syrup. Use fine-grind cornmeal or polenta; stone-ground meal doesn’t get tender enough in baking.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert

Ingredients
FOR THE CAKE
  • 4 blood oranges
  • 2⁄3 cup (145 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (125 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2⁄3 cup (105 g) cornmeal (not stone-ground)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup (165 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
FOR THE SYRUP
  • ½ packet (¹⁄8 ounce/3.5 g) unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Cointreau
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Using a Microplane grater, grate zest from 2 of the blood oranges and reserve. Juice the 2 oranges and reserve. Cut both ends off of each of the remaining 2 oranges, then cut each orange crosswise into rounds ⅛ to 1/16 inch (3 to 2 mm) thick. Cut all but one of the slices in half and discard any center pith.
  2. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the bottom of a flameproof and ovenproof 10-inch (25-cm) skillet (a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is perfect) and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the orange juice. Heat skillet over medium-low heat until most of the sugar is bubbling. Remove from the heat.
  3. Starting at the outer edge of the pan, lay the halved orange slices in the melted sugar with the “scalloped” edge of each slice touching the edge of the pan. Fit as many orange slices as you can into the circle, pinching their corners as you set them into the hot sugar (use a knife point or tongs to adjust the fruit as needed). Some slices will have a “prettier” side; make sure those are placed face down in the sugar. Arrange the remaining halved orange slices in concentric circles toward the center, finishing with the reserved whole slice in the center.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the oil and granulated sugar on medium speed until thickened and golden. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is thick and creamy gold, 3 to 5 minutes total. Beat in the zest and 1 tablespoon of the juice. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, beating after each addition just until blended.
  5. Pour batter evenly over the orange slices and gently smooth the top. Bake the cake until golden brown, the top springs back to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a thin-bladed knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake sides. Invert a serving plate over the cake, invert the pan and plate together, and lift off the pan. If any fruit sticks to the pan, loosen it with a spatula and place it on the cake. While the cake is hot, use a fork or bamboo skewer to make holes in it without going all the way through.
  6. While the cake is baking, make the soaking syrup. Fill a medium bowl one-third full with ice and a little water and nestle a smaller bowl, preferably metal, in the ice bath. Pour ¼ cup (60 ml) of the remaining orange juice into a small pot, sprinkle the gelatin on top, and let soften for 5 minutes.
  7. Stir granulated sugar, Cointreau, and lemon juice into the remaining orange juice, then stir the mixture into the softened gelatin. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir to dissolve sugar and gelatin, about 1 minute. Do not allow to boil. Pour syrup into the waiting bowl and stir from time to time until it thickens to the consistency of maple syrup, about 15 minutes. Spoon or brush some of the syrup over the cake. Allow it to soak in, then spoon or brush on more. Repeat until you have used all the syrup.
  8. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing, then cut into wedges with a serrated offset knife to serve.

 

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Dirty Chai Frappé & Hamilton Beach Blender Giveaway

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I’ve been shopping around for a blender for a while. And I have to admit that I’ve been considering some of those super high-priced blenders like Vitamix and Blendtec. So when Hamilton Beach emailed me and let me know about their new Wave-Action blender, the timing was spot on.  I wasn’t sure what to expect. I looked it up and it had some decent reviews. It’s a $50 blender though.

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I have a good track record with Hamilton Beach products. I’ve tried their food processor and coffee maker, so I know that they have some great budget-friendly products that perform well. But could this blender compete with some more expensive blenders? Could this blender work in my kitchen?

I typically use a blender for a morning smoothie and occasionally some soup or even a frozen cocktail. Each year I commit to using the blender more though.

One of my favorite drinks in the summer is iced coffee. Another favorite is an iced chai latte. I make iced coffee at home all the time, but I’m ashamed to admit that the majority of my iced chais tend to come from places like Starbucks. I always tell myself that I should be making it at home. I shouldn’t be paying five dollars for a drink.

When I do get an iced chai, I often ask for it with a shot of espresso  – which is often referred to as a dirty chai latte. So I decided to pull this blender out of the box and make myself a dirty chai frappé.

I boiled some water and seeped the tea bags in a cup of water to make a strong chai concentrate. I also frozen some cold brew coffee in some ice cube trays.

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When the tea and coffee were ready, I blended both with some maple syrup and almond milk. I had myself a vegan dirty chai frappé! And it took me all of two minutes!

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This blender worked wonders on my iced chai cravings. It’s Wave Action technology easily pulls everything in to the blades. The blender does include a stirring tamper piece, but I didn’t have to use it on my frappé. I imagine that it will come in helpful with soups or veggie purees. But I was very impressed with it.blender-out

And thanks to Hamilton Beach, you also have the opportunity to win your own blender! Awesome, right? So check it out and enter.

And try my dirty chai frappé.



Dirty Chai Frappé
 
Author:
Serves: 2-3 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 cup cold brew coffee
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 chai tea bags
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup almond milk

Instructions
  1. Freeze the cold brew coffee in ice cube trays
  2. Boil the water and brew the tea in the water. Stir in some maple syrup and chill.
  3. When both the coffee is frozen and tea is chilled, place in blender and blend with some almond milk.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

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Hamilton Beach #FlexBrew Coffeemaker & Giveaway

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You may not already know this about me, but I have a bit a of a coffee habit. I’m totally addicted to coffee. With that coffee drinking habit comes a lot of coffee gear. I’ve tried every affordable and some not so affordable coffee brewing system out there. So you can only imagine what my coffee habit combined with my kitchen appliance habit does to my kitchen. I’m always looking for the perfect coffee brewing system. So when Hamilton Beach mentioned their new FlexBrew coffee maker, I was excited to checking it out.

For the record, I’m the only coffee drinker in this house. So unless I’m hosting a crowd, I typically brew only a few cups each day. I do supplement with some coffee pit stops near my office. On a typical morning though, I’ll brew my coffee using my Bodum french press or a pour-over Melitta coffee filter. They’re both very easy to use. In the summer, I will typically prep a huge batch of cold-brew coffee in my Toddy.

What’s great about the FlexBrew system from Hamilton Beach is that you have a few options. You can brew a 12-cup pot of coffee through a standard paper filter, you can brew a single cup of coffee through the drip system AND you can brew a single cup of coffee using a Keurig K-cup. That’s a lot of options to get your coffee fix on. In addition to these brew sizes, you can program it to brew at a set time and you can adjust your coffee strength. This is great for me since I have crazy mornings and I love my coffee bold. Win win, right?

So I tried all three brewing options:

  • I made about 8 cups of coffee in the pot. It was great. I selected bold. It came out just how I wanted it. This made me happy.
  • I tried brewing with ground coffee in the single-cup mode. It gave me a good cup of coffee. My only frustration is that I was hoping for quick and it took a few minutes. Still, it produced a good, even cup of coffee.
  • Last, I tried the K-cup option. I used a Starbucks brand K-cup. I used the Verona Roast. It took a couple minutes to brew that, but it produced a consistently good cup of coffee.

All in all, this machine produces good coffee. I just wish that the single cup method was faster, but that’s just me. I’m impatient for my coffee fix. I highly recommend this coffee maker for anyone.

Glad to have this addition to my home.

And the good news? You can enter to win this coffee maker! Enter now. Enjoy your coffee!

 

*Please note that this coffee maker was given to me by Hamilton Beach but all opinions are my own.



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Golden Beet Latkes + Hamilton Beach Giveaway

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So I woke up this week and realized that it’s already the middle of December. The snow clued me in a little, but the giant 8 ft. tall santa and reindeer on my neighbor’s lawn is probably what really did me in. Anyways, it’s December and the holidays are almost here and I’m over the moon about it. Can’t you tell?

With Chanukah almost here, I need to continue my tradition of coming up with some new latke recipes. On last year’s menu, there were some carrot ginger latkes and some wild mushroom & roasted garlic latkes. Both were amazing. How could I top that? I really wanted to go for something somewhat simple for my first latke of the season. You really have to ease into it. I decided to turn to one of my favorite root veggies. Golden beets. I definitely don’t show enough love for the humble golden beet often enough. So a latke it must be.

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Hamilton Beach recently sent me their Stack and Snap™ 10 Cup Food Processor to check out and use in my holiday cooking. What better way to test out a food processor then to abuse using it during my latke making fest?! It really is the perfect way to check out what it’s made of.

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I loved the simplicity of the set up as I took it out of the box. Everything just stacked together. There was very little question as to what piece goes where. I also loved how the shredding disc is reversible. One side slices and one side shreds. Another thing I noted as I took hold of the new appliance was how light it is. It didn’t feel cumbersome in my arms or on my kitchen counter.

When it got down to making the machine work, I was also pleasantly surprised and impressed. Beets are much firmer than potatoes, so I figured that shredding the beets would be a pretty good test. When I placed the beets in the feeding tube and pushed down, the beets were shredded in seconds! The machine was really strong and worked really well!

shredded beets

Later in the day, I tested the machine with some dried fruit and nuts. I tested with that mixture because I knew it would be difficult to cut through. and it’s what I used for charoset at Pesach. If this machine can handle my Passover Charoset, then it definitely is a winner! And lo and behold, it worked! It attacked the dried apricots and figs with gusto!

I didn’t think that a budget-friendly machine would work for me, but so glad that this Stack and Snap™ 10 Cup Food Processor works well! This food processor would be the perfect addition to my year-round kitchen gear AND for my pesach kitchen gear. I love how this machine processes the food so fast and is so easy to handle. I also love that it comes with the extra shredding and slicing disc.  I would definitely recommend this food processor to anyone! Good news for you, I’ve got one of these Hamilton Beach Stack and Snap™ 10 Cup Food Processor to give away!

Anyways, back to these golden beet latkes.

Here’s what I did.

I washed and peeled the beets and onions and then I quartered them. I processed them in the food processor with the shredding disc.

I transferred the mixture to a bowl and then added the chopped garlic, chopped dill, salt and pepper, egg and the flour. I mixed everything together well.

I then heated up some oil in my fry pan, shaped the mixture in to latke patties and then fried them until browned and crispy on both sides. I drained the latkes on paper towels.

latkes frying

I served the latkes with sour cream, though next time, I think I will serve them with a nice lemon aioli.

These latkes are delicious.

Check out the recipe below and don’t forget to enter to win your own Stack and Snap™ 10 Cup Food Processor!



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Golden Beet Latkes
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 3 golden beets
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 tbsp. almond flour, (you can also use regular all-purpose flour)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • – See more at: http://confident-cook.com/2014/12/golden-beet-latkes.html#sthash.8QM4ZrrJ.dpuf

Instructions
  1. Wash, peel and quarter the beets
  2. peel and quarter the onions
  3. Using the shredding disc on your food processor, shred the beets and onions.
  4. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients
  5. Mix everything together well
  6. Form beet mixture in to thin patties and fry in hot oil until browned on both sides.
  7. Drain on paper towels.
  8. Serve with some sour cream and dill or a lemon aioli.
  9. Enjoy!

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**Hamilton Beach provided me with this food processor to review, but all opinions and the recipe are my own.

Raspberry & Chocolate Cream Cheese Rugelach + Baking Chez Moi Review

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Dorie Greenspan is a baking god in my book. I look up to her. So when I was recently approached to adapt Dorie’s rugelach recipe with some fresh Driscoll raspberries, I got super excited. I jumped at the opportunity to check out her latest cookbook, Baking Chez Moi: Recipes From My Paris Home To Your Home Anywhere.

baking chez moi

And then it hit me. They wanted me to make rugelach. I’ve made rugelach once before, but only once. Rugelach meant that I would have to take out my rolling pin. You know how much I despise rolling out dough. But I’m doing it for Dorie. Because she’s a great teacher.

So I got to work. I read and reread the cookbook and studied the rugelach recipe. Her dough recipe is so simple and comes together fast. I mixed up the flour, butter, cream cheese and salt in my food processor. It took just a couple of minutes.

mixing-dough

I formed the mixture in to two squares, wrapped them up in plastic wrap and then chilled for a couple hours. While the dough chilled, I made the filling. I knew that I needed to fill the rugelach with some form of raspberry and chocolate, but it needed to be different than the last time I made rugelach. I decided to make my filling using cream cheese, sugar, the fresh raspberries and some 72% dark chocolate. I’m so glad I went in that direction.

raspberries

Next, I reviewed her rolling technique over and over. To be honest, at first I doubted her method. With the first batch of the cookies, I stuck to the pie slicing method that I’d used in the past. Of course it didn’t turn out the way I wanted to. I relented and tried Dorie’s method of rolling rugelach. She recommends rolling the dough into a rectangle and slicing in half and on each half, filling and then rolling the long way.

rolled-out-dough

I froze the two long rugelach tubes for a little bit before slicing. They sliced beautifully once chilled.

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I baked the rugelach for around 15 minutes. Lo and behold, Dorie’s version came out perfectly.

cooling

And that raspberry and chocolate and cream cheese filling? Amazing and rich. The perfect dessert. It meshes so well with the flaky and buttery dough. I am definitely making these rugelach again soon. I’m sure I will mix up the filling ingredients over and over again, but for now, this works for me.

Thanks to the publishers, I have a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook available to give away. Please enter below!



 

Raspberry & Chocolate Cream Cheese Rugelach + Baking Chez Moi Review
 
Author:

Ingredients
Dough:
  • 4 oz. cold cream cheese
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Filling:
  • 4 oz. room temperature cream cheese
  • 1 heaping cup fresh Driscoll’s raspberries (around 6 oz.)
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 5 oz. chopped 70% or greater dark chocolate
For Top of Dough Rolls:
  • 1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of water
  • ½ cup sugar (approx.)

Instructions
  1. Cut up the cream cheese and butter in to chunks.
  2. Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
  3. Add the butter and cream cheese to the food processor and pulse several times until it becomes crumbly. Don’t let it come in to a ball on its’ own.
  4. Transfer mixture to a floured board and form in to a ball with your hands. Separate in to two pieces.
  5. Shape each piece into a square and wrap in plastic wrap.
  6. Chill dough squares in fridge for two hours.
  7. For the filling, place the cream cheese, berries and sugar in the food processor and pulse until combined. You don’t want the raspberries completely pureed – you want some pieces. Set mixture aside.
  8. Chop up the chocolate well. Set aside in small bowl.
  9. Take one square of dough out of the fridge. Move to a floured surface and dust the top of the dough and your rolling pin with flour.
  10. Roll out the dough to a 12 x 12 rectangle.
  11. Slice the rectangle in half to 12×6.
  12. Spread filling on rectangle, leaving one long edge without filling.
  13. Roll up the dough from that one edge. Roll it up jelly roll style, with seam side down.
  14. Repeat process with the second dough rectangle,
  15. Transfer both rolls to the freezer.
  16. Preheat the oven to 400.
  17. Once the oven is heated to temperature and the dough rolls are chilled thoroughly, remove the rolls from the freezer.
  18. Brush the top of the rolls with the egg mixture and sprinkle on some of the sugar.
  19. Slice each roll in to 1 inch slices
  20. Baked on parchment lined baking sheets for about 15 minutes
  21. Transfer to cooling racks
  22. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough.
  23. Enjoy!

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The Holiday Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer: Giveaway & Babka Bites

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The holidays are upon us. So much craziness. I’m thrilled that I get a fresh dinner on the table –  let alone somehow manage to pull off a holiday meal. Each day I come home from work with a new menu idea and a new shopping list. I know I should probably just stick to just one idea, but I’m always inspired by new things I see. My menu tends to change up until the actual holiday day. As long as it’s a holiday I can cook on, I tend to play and go with whatever my mood dictates.  As long as I have some fresh veggies and proteins on hand, I’m good to go.

The only thing I have trouble with though is dessert. I love chocolate and cookies as much as every other person out there, but I’m not always creative about it. 90% of the time, I tend to rely on my trusty cookbooks.

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That’s where a book like The Holiday Baker by Paula Shoyer comes in. This cookbook is filled with fabulous treats to bake up in my kitchen. Paula Shoyer makes holiday desserts simple to create. Her recipes are easy to follow and the photos in the cookbook make me want to make and eat everything right away. She even has a fantastic section on must-have tools and tips. Was thrilled to get a copy of the cookbook this holiday season. My daughter has flagged about 10 recipes that I MUST make. Everything with chocolate was at the top of my list.

Paula Shoyer’s recipe for Babka Bites are on my must-make list. Such an amazing treat and the recipe is super easy to follow. I highly recommend you make this now.

Don’t forget to enter this fabulous giveaway for this amazing cookbook!

Shana Tova! Happy New Year. May you have a happy and sweet New Year!



Babka Bites
 
Recipe from The Holiday Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer Sterling / November 2013
Author:

Ingredients
Dough
  • ¼ cup (60ml) warm water
  • ½ ounce (2 envelopes; 14g) dry yeast
  • ¼ cup (50g) plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
  • 2 ½ cups (315g) all-purpose flour
  • dash salt
  • 4 tablespoons (57g) margarine, at room temperature for at least 15 minutes
  • ¼ cup (60ml) canola oil
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg white
Filling
  • ½ cup (1 stick; 113g) margarine, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
  • ¼ cup (20g) unsweetened cocoa
  • ¾ cup (150g) sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup (60g) mini chocolate chips

Instructions
To make the dough:
  1. PLACE WARM WATER, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and let it sit for 10 minutes, until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Add the ¼ cup (50g) sugar, flour, salt, margarine, oil, egg, and egg white.
  2. Combine with a wooden spoon or a dough hook in a stand mixer until all the ingredients are mixed in. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise 1 ½ hours.
To make the filling:
  1. PLACE THE MARGARINE into a medium or large bowl and beat until creamy. Add the cocoa and sugar and beat until combined. Cover with plastic and let sit at room temperature while the dough is rising.
  2. PREHEAT OVEN to 325°F (160°C). Place mini muffin papers into a 12-cup mini muffin pan. You will need to bake Babka Bites in batches.
To assemble and bake:
  1. AFTER THE DOUGH HAS RISEN, divide it in half. On a large piece of parchment paper sprinkled with a little flour, roll each piece of dough into a 9 x 12-inch (23 x 30-cm) rectangle so that the 12-inch (30-cm) side is facing you. Sprinkle a little flour on the rolling pin if the dough starts to stick to it. Use a silicone spatula to spread half the chocolate filling all the way to the edges. Sprinkle half the chocolate chips all over the chocolate filling and roll up tightly the long way. Cut into ½-inch (1.25-cm)
  2. slices and place one into each of the muffin cups, cut side up. You will have about 24 slices. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  3. BAKE for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store covered at room temperature for up to four days or freeze for up to three months.

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#BeyondMeat Vegan Lettuce Tacos + Giveaway!


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I am excited to have the opportunity to cook with and talk about the Beyond Meat line of vegan beef crumbles.

You all know that I’m a fan of the various vegan meat products out there. Whenever a new product is released, I’m first in line to try it. So I’ve definitely been watching Beyond Meat. Ever since they showed up at Whole Foods, I was there. First their mock chicken products, and now the beef crumbles. They’re not only vegan, they are also kosher and gluten free. It’s the absolute trifecta in my book. The fact that they taste good. Perfecto!

I’d already tried the beefy variety of the crumbles, so I decided to get a little crazy and try their Feisty crumbles.

vegan feisty crumbles

An idea immediately popped in to my head. I some amazing fresh lettuce and corn from my CSA. I decided I needed to make tacos out of these Feisty crumbles. It would be a perfect light, vegan and gluten free dinner. Since the Feisty crumbles already had some seasoning in there, I had a hunch that with just a bit of adaptation, they would be perfect for my tacos.

I chopped up some onion and garlic and added it to a hot pan. I added the frozen Beyond Meat crumbles to the pan and cooked for a few minutes, breaking up the pieces. I added some cumin, salt and pepper to the mix. I then added some corn that I cut off the cob. I cooked another five minutes.

cooking-crumbles

I washed and prepped some lettuce leaves. Romaine or Butter Lettuce are perfect for this. I also chopped up some peppers and avocado.

I scooped some of the meat mixture in to the lettuce pieces and then sprinkled over some peppers and avocado. You could also add some cheddar cheese for the ultimate taco experience.

This was the perfect summer dinner!

Don’t forget to enter the amazing giveaway below!

*Please note that this was a sponsored post. While the product was provided to me, the recipe and opinions are my own.



 

Vegan Lettuce Tacos
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 package of Beyond Meat Feisty Crumbles
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • Corn from 2 ears of corn
  • Lettuce Leaves
  • 1 Red pepper, chopped
  • 1 Avocado, diced
  • Vegan or Dairy Cheddar (optional)
  • Additional salt and pepper as necessary

Instructions
  1. Heat up the olive oil in a large pan
  2. Add in the onions, garlic and spices. Cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add in the vegan beef crumbles and the corn. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Clean the lettuce leaves.
  5. Scoop the meat mixture in to the lettuce leaves and garnish with the remaining chopped veggies and optional cheese.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

  vertical-tacos

Lemon Lavender Hamentashen

lemon-lavender-hamentashen

Disclosure: I got this silicone baking product mentioned below as part of an advertorial. All opinions and content are my own.

I know I just shared some hamentashen the other day, but since those kimchi hamentashen were savory, I decided to share something sweet with you today. I also wanted to feature my awesome new Cuina Silicone baking mat with you. I figured that freshly baked hamentashen were the perfect way to take advantage of both needs. Stay tuned for the end of this post. You’ll have a chance to win your own Silicone baking mat!

It’s Meyer Lemon season apparently.  I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with them, but I love the taste. They are much sweeter than traditional lemons. When I saw them at the market, I knew I had to incorporate some of them in to my cooking or baking. I’ve been wanting to make lemon curd since I can’t seem to find one that is kosher certified. I was surprised to find out how easy it is to make the curd.

I combined egg yolk with sugar and heated over medium heat, whisking the whole time. I then juiced and zested the lemons and stirred it in to the egg yolks mixture. I stirred for several minutes, letting it thicken then added a stick of butter. You want the mixture to get thick. It should coat the back of your wooden spoon. Once ready. I transferred to jars and chilled in the refrigerator.

lemon-curd-collage

I was debating between lemon rosemary or lemon lavender dough for the hamentashen. I have a foolproof hamentashen dough that I have played with over the years and knew I could make it work for this application. I just had to choose the right herb. I cook with rosemary often, but rarely use lavender – yet I have it in my house. I decided to challenge myself and use the lavender. I know that both herbs work well with lemon anyways, just not necessarily all together.

I mixed up the dough in my Kitchenaid. I then transferred the dough to a rolling mat coated with lots of flour. I rolled out the dough, and with a small drinking glass, I cut rounds of dough. I then shaped in to Hamentashen and transferred to my baking mat lined baking pan.

dough-rounds

Now I want to tell you about this Cuina Kitchen brand silicone baking mat. The fine folks at Cuina Kitchen sent it to me and I was so excited since I had never used one before. I always tend to use parchment paper instead. This silicone baking mat allows you to make cookies without any spray or parchment paper. You just place the mat in your half sheet pan and the cookies go on. They didn’t stick at all! It was so simple. Why did I never buy a baking mat before? Anyways, I highly recommend this silicone baking mat. It worked really well. My cookies came out perfectly and there was no sticky mess to clean up. At the bottom of this post, you’ll have your very own chance to win one of these baking mats!

cuina-kitchen-sheet

Meyer Lemon Curd
 
Author:
Recipe type: spread, sweet

Ingredients
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Juice and Zest from 4-5 Meyer Lemons (around ½ cup of juice)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tsp. salt

Instructions
  1. Beat the egg yolks with a form lightly and place in a small heavy-bottomed sauce pan, along with the cup of sugar.
  2. Whisk well over medium heat, letting the sugar melt in.
  3. Add in the lemon juice and zest and stir with a wooden spoon. Let the mixture thicken a bit.
  4. Stir in the butter, keep stirring with the wooden spoon until the back of the spoon is coated in the curd mixture.
  5. Once the curd has thickened, remove from heat, transfer to jars and chill in refrigerator. Enjoy!



  meyerlemoncurd  

Lemon Lavender Hamentashen
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup lemon curd (see recipe above)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. ground vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. lavender
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups flour (plus more for rolling
  • 1 tsp. salt

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  3. Mix in the eggs, vanilla and the lavender.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients and mix well until it forms a dough.
  5. Transfer to a rolling area that has been liberally dusted with flour.
  6. Make sure to dust your hands and rolling pin as well.
  7. In batches, roll out the dough to about a ½-inch thickness. Cut out circles of dough with a glass. Place a teaspoon of the filling at the center of the dough round. Pinch corners in well to form a triangle.
  8. Transfer formed hamentashen to a lined baking mat.
  9. Bake in oven for around 10-11 minutes.
  10. Cool on rack.
  11. Enjoy!

Lemon-Lavender-Hamentashen-Upright

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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